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JCCC Stories

Certified Nurse Aide course helps teen meet her goal

December 2, 2018


A future MD is getting a head start on her career while still in high school.

Brenna Nelson, 16, has wanted to be a doctor since she was a little girl. Although she has been working on her requirements for high school graduation and college admission, she hadn’t taken a class that would help her see what it was really like to work in the medical field.

That’s where Johnson County Community College's Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) course came in.

Learning from patients

The CNA course, AVHO 102, gave Brenna the experience of working with patients and understanding the impact that aging and health issues can have on them. 

“I learned a lot about patient self-care and what life can look like if that gets taken away because of health issues,” Brenna said. “I liked that half of our time was spent in the classroom and half in a clinical setting at a nursing home.”  

Connie Reischman, Associate Professor of Health Occupations at JCCC, said the course is a good foundation for anyone interested in healthcare. Instruction primarily focuses on caring for clients in long-term and acute-care facilities, and includes skill development in:

  • Daily hygiene and bedside care
  • Vital sign measurement
  • Body positioning
  • Moving clients safely

The course prepares students to take the Kansas CNA exam.

Flexible scheduling

AVHO 102 is offered year-round, with several hundred students taking it each year to prepare for a career in healthcare. During the summer session, Brenna took an eight-week hybrid course—with both on-campus and online instruction—that met once a week for class and filled the rest of the week with daily assignments and clinicals.

According to Reischman, there are many scheduling options for the course, such as the eight-week hybrid class, a two-week face-to-face class in the summer, three-hour evening classes and Saturday classes. “We’re trying to meet all of the different needs of students,” she said.

Although AVHO 102 can be difficult to get into—sections have been known to fill up in three minutes when registration opens—Brenna has some enrollment tips on how to get the class you want. “Be prepared to register as soon as enrollment opens,” she says. “Have two or three class times in mind that would work with your schedule. That way, if one fills up, you can quickly go to another.”

Reischman confirms that the Certified Nurse Aide course is in big demand, but says the benefits of taking it at JCCC are huge. “We don’t charge a lot of additional costs, our tuition is quite reasonable, we offer a variety of scheduling options and we have great clinical arrangements with care facilities,” she said.

Temperature of nursing careers: Hot and getting hotter!

If a healthcare career interests you, particularly as a CNA or Licensed Practical Nurse, consider starting with AVHO 102. To learn more about nursing, take a look at all of your occupation options. For more information, email Christina Rudacille, Director of Practical Nursing and Health Occupations, or call 913-469-8500, ext. 2383.